Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why we like Lichen - Linda C. Miller

Linda C. Miller, Lichen
Originally uploaded by Linda C. Miller

During my Master Naturalist training, we spent one full day with Charlie Dubay and Hugh Beard, two of the most unique and gifted botanists you can ever know.  On that day, I learned so much and especially -- we like Lichen.  Seeing Lichen on our trees is a sign that our air is clean.  Lichen will not grow where there is air pollution!

Also this amazing organism is actually two organisms that live off each other in what is called a symbiotic relationship. Fungi are incapable of making their own food. They usually provide for themselves as parasites or decomposers. Lichen are composite organisms consisting of a fungus (the mycobiont) with a photosynthetic partner (the photobiont or phycobiont), usually a green alga. 

Lichen can live for many years and will actually go "dormant" in times of drought.

Hummingbirds use lichen to build their nests.

Deer and caribou eat lichen.

Size: 7 inches high by 1.5 inches wide
Watercolor and Ink on 300lb HP Paper
Specimen: Williamsburg
copyright 2010

Have a great day with nature!

Linda C. Miller
Williamsburg, Virginia
Artist, Naturalist and Instructor


We'd love to hear from you, your questions, comments, observations! Please feel free to comment, feedback is important to us.